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In Their Own Words

June 08, 1864

Civil War Soldier Wrote of Continual Fighting in Virginia

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote to his sister, describing the continual fighting he had been involved in there.

“…Ever since the 4th of May we have been marching and fighting nearly the whole time. Our legion has lost many men, killed and wounded, and many of our command have been rendered unfit for duty. Thus far I have stood the campaign remarkably well, have been in all the fighting and up to this time have enjoyed splendid health. We now have only six officers for duty. I am the only Captain present… Since the campaign commenced [we] have been in five different distinct battles. On the 6th we fought three separate fights and were engaged seven hours. On the 12th, [we] fought again at Spotsylvania and again at Cold Harbor on the 1st of June. In the battle at Cold Harbor…the Yankees advanced we were behind breastworks, and, though they charged us several times with four lines, we repulsed then with heavy fire and loss. I was busy as a bee loading guns and giving out the cartridges to the men in front so that they could fire rapidly. … We are now about five miles from Richmond on the memorable old battlefield of Cold Harbor. Our position is strongly fortified but it is a dangerous one. We lie in the trenches and watch the enemy and so don’t have time to do or hardly know anything more going on about us. …”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), “Dear Mother: Don’t grieve about me. If I get killed, I’ll only be dead.”: Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), pp. 296-298.